The Final Fling: Entries Open

Wild Horizons and Save the Children Australia are very excited to announce that The Highland Fling, one of Australia’s largest, longest established and most iconic mountain biking events, will be going ahead for its 13th edition on 12 November 2017. It is planned that this will be, after all those years, The Final Fling.

Wingello State Forest features incredible, flowing single track

The Final Fling will also be a major fundraiser for Save the Children Australia, raising funds to support the superb work they do for children and families in 24 countries around the world. In announcing the partnership, Paul Ronalds, CEO of Save the Children Australia, had this to say: ‘Save the Children Australia is very excited to be the charity partner of The Highland Fling mountain bike marathon. The funds we receive from the event will support our work in Australia and overseas, giving children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm.

We’re delighted to continue our extremely close relationship with Huw Kingston, founder of Wild Horizons – the organisation behind The Highland Fling. Huw is an Ambassador for Save the Children Australia and our largest ever individual fundraiser, so we are very pleased that he has seen fit to add another layer to this relationship.’

For many, the Fling isn’t the most serious ‘race’

Speaking on behalf of Wild Horizons, Huw Kingston was very happy about the decision: For over a dozen years The Highland Fling has brought together an incredible community of riders, supporters, sponsors, local community groups and local businesses to celebrate a festival weekend of all things MTB. It has put millions of dollars into the regional economy and offered a fundraising platform for numerous Southern Highlands community groups, the community in which we live. A number of factors saw us consider cancelling the 2017 event. We’d lost a couple of key sponsors for 2017 and had also had enough of the seemingly endless inefficiencies of our local Council. However part also related to my own personal priorities changing; a desire to spend even more of my energy engaging with the pressing issues of plastic pollution, children suffering disadvantage, and of course my own outdoor adventures and journeys.

However, when we announced the event might not happen in 2017, the groundswell of support was huge. In a bit of a light bulb moment, the solution appeared. Why not use the event as a fundraiser for Save the Children, an organisation I already have a very close relationship with? That, in conjunction with our incredible organising team, the support of the mountain biking community and the local Southern Highlands community surely meant we should do at least one Final Fling. A very worthwhile Fling!’

The Highland Fling attracts Australia’s best MTB marathon racers; Peta Mullens has claimed a handful of wins.

Hopefully the event will go out with a bit of a bang and raise a substantial amount for Save the Children Australia. In addition to the proceeds of the event going to the charity, there will also be plenty of opportunities for personal fundraising.

However amongst this good news is some sad news. In 2015 the Fling weekend grew to include the Bundy Run, a trail running event showcasing the delights of Morton National Park on the edge of Bundanoon. This young event attracted a new outdoor audience and saw a solid increase in numbers year-on-year. However the loss of that event’s headline sponsor last year due to their moving out of the running market (and our inability to attract a replacement) has meant that the financials do not stack up from a fundraising perspective. It is with a very heavy heart that we announce that the Bundy Run will not take place in 2017. We would like to thank all those runners who have supported that event in the past two years.

Wild Horizons would like to say a big thanks to everyone and in particular, our sponsors for bearing with us whilst decisions were made.

We look forward to seeing you at the Final Fling!

Entries for the 2017 Highland Fling are now open here.

For further information on the work of Save the Children Australia visit www.savethechildren.org.au

6-year-old Phuong Sophon in his 2nd grade lesson on writing and word recognition. Save the Children work with the Provincial Education Office in strengthening access to schools and improving the quality of education by giving technical support, capacity building as well as providing materials and furniture to target schools.

CamelBak Highland Fling: Johnston and Mullens Victorious

The CamelBak Highland Fling celebrated 10 years with an all-star elite line-up and its most challenging course to date.

After last years weather glitch, the Southern Highlands turned on its normal blue skies and sunshine for the tenth running of the CamelBak Highland fling mountain bike marathon; the race considered one of the most challenging on the calendar.

Following a Saturday of fun racing, including the Rollloff World Championships and the Ravensworth Bundanoon Dash, Sunday saw riders receive the Highland Fling bagpipers wake-up call – the sound of serious racing.

 

The first gun sounded at the early start time of 7:20am for 100Mile (165km) racers and Full Flingers (non-elite) who set off at pace for a long day in the saddle. The most hotly contested racing of the weekend was next off the line, with the Full Fling elite; an all-star line-up that included Andy Blair, Shaun Lewis, Dylan Cooper, Mark Tupalski, Cameron Ivory, Jason English and 2013 Fling winner Brendan Johnston in the men’s field, and Jenny Fay, Imogen Smith, Naomi Hansen, Rebecca Locke and 2013 Fling winner Peta Mullens, in the women’s race.

“I wanted to make it hard from the start,” agreed Tupalski. “I’m really happy with the result, it was a hard ride but the new track in the Wingello stage was great.

 

In similar fashion to the 2013 race, Mark Tupalski helped set a fast pace at the start, with only three other riders, Brendan Johnston, Andy Blair and Chris Hamilton able to go with him. The group stayed together for some time before both Blair and Hamilton were lost, and not able to bridge the gap. In the end it was Brendan Johnston from Canberra crossing the line to take back to back CamelBak Highland Fling wins, he was followed by Mark Tupalski in second and Andy Blair in third.

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‘Mark was strong and really drove it from the start.’ said Brendan. ‘We worked together pretty well and there was a group of us riding together. We managed to break away about half way through the Wingello stage and just kept the hammer down.”

“I wanted to make it hard from the start,” agreed Tupalski. “I’m really happy with the result, it was a hard ride but the new track in the Wingello stage was great.”

Andy Blair, who was racing his 10th Fling said “I had a good day, but Brendan and Mark were stronger. If I’d tried to stay with them, I would have blown.”

In the women’s race, whilst Peta Mullens took the win, she didn’t have it all her way from the start, with fierce competition from Jenny Fay, who withdrew from the race in the final 25km with mechanical issues.

In second place was Rebecca Locke, followed by Lucy Bechtel in third. “Jenny was so strong out there, but suffered a mechanical and withdrew,” said Peta. “I really suffered through the first section – on the hills – and that last technical section is always tough when you’re fatigued. It was definitely harder than last year and I’m really happy to take the win.”

Rebecca Locke said “I’ve done a few marathons, and I was told this was a tough course – wow, it was! I’ve been doing a lot of four hour races, and at 4 hours I really knew it.”

In the 100Mile it was a reversal of 2013 with Ed McDonald taking the win (and even popping a wheelie over the line) from Andrew Hall in second and Sam Moffitt in third. For the women, seasoned marathon racer Wendy Stevenson stepped up from the Full Fling to conquer the 100Mile.

Race Results in the 2013 CamelBak Highland Fling:

Half Fling Men

Brad Morton (2:22:22)

Jack Lavis (2:22:24)

Garry Millburn (2:22:26)

Half Fling Women

Michelle Ainsworth (2:41:39)

Rebecca Hoschke 2:51:05)

Full Fling Elite Men

Brendan Johnston (4:30:21)

Mark Tupalski (4:30:48)

Andy Blair (4:34:26)

Full Fling Elite Women

Peta Mullens (5:24:48)

Rebecca Locke (5:24:48)

Lucy Bechtel (5:49:08)

100Mile Men

Ed McDonald (7:43:51)

Andrew Hall (7:49:20)

Sam Moffitt (8:45:08)

100Mile Women

Wendy Stevenson (10:19:32)

 

Video: Seven and a half hours at the CamelBak Highland Fling

The 2013 CamelBak Highland Fling took place in conditions that would’ve made a Scotsman feel right at home. After eight gloriously sun-kissed Flings, this year’s edition took place under gloomy, drizzly skies.

While there were a few PA heckles served up to riders who pulled the pin (must be made of sugar) over 1700 pros and punters still fronted up to tackle the Half Fling (58km), Full Fling (116km) and the Hundred Mile Fling.

The racing was hard fought, as it always is for this prestigious marathon event, but we’ll admit to our own degree of softness; with the rain chucking down, the comfort of a warm van was too tempting for us and we pulled stumps before the Elite Women came across the line. Apologies to Peta Mullens, who rode by herself all day long to clinch the victory ahead of WA’s Jo Bennett.

Keeping toasty pre-race.
Keeping toasty pre-race.
Conditions were cold enough to turn your head and feet blue.
Conditions were cold enough to turn your head and feet blue.
Heavy hitters.
Heavy hitters; Dylan Cooper would pull the pin with cramps, while Blair and Johnson would grab second and first respectively.
Gary Millburn won the competitive Half Fling convincingly.
Gary Millburn won the competitive Half Fling convincingly.
Mark Tupalski was undisputedly the strongest rider on the day, but he worked too hard on his own and was caught with just a couple of kays to go.
Mark Tupalski was undisputedly the strongest rider on the day, but he worked too hard on his own and was caught with just a couple of kays to go.

 

Racing: The CamelBak Highland Fling Is Just a Stone's Throw Away!

The 2013 CamelBak Highland Fling mountain bike event is just four weeks away. That’s still plenty of time to get your training on a roll and be ready to leave no stone unturned when you line up for the ninth edition of Australia’s largest mountain bike marathon.

Briars Highland Fling 2012

If you’ve noticed there seems to be a bit of a stone theme, you’re onto something. One of the many things that make the CamelBak Highland Fling unique is its annual theme; designed to ensure that serious racing is also serious fun!

2013 sees The CamelBak Highland Fling go stone-age with a Flingstones theme. And while there is an assurance that no actual stones will be flung (other than flung up by tyres), there could be a dinosaur or two taking to the trails (and we’re not talking about riders in the Grand Masters category).

Briars Highland Fling 2012

On Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th November, the picturesque New South Wales Southern Highlands town of Bundanoon will a celebrate all things mountain biking with the CamelBak Highland Fling welcoming a large field of both Australian and international elite riders, category racers and weekend warriors, together with their support crews, families and friends.

Last year's podium. Cooper, Jackson and Johnston grabbed the top three spots. Jackson took the novelty cheque, Coops got the beer, Brendan got the award for best attempt at a moustache.
Last year’s podium. Cooper, Jackson and Johnston grabbed the top three spots. Jackson took the novelty cheque, Coops got the beer, Brendan got the award for best attempt at a moustache.

2012 men’s champion Adrian Jackson will be back to defend his title saying: ‘The Fling is one of my big targets for the second half and I hope to hit it in top form. It’s rated in the top tier of marathon races by all elites. To win one is an honour but to win back-to-back, is legend making.’

Making sure it’s not an easy win will be a stacked men’s elite field including 2012 2nd and 3rd place-getters Dylan Cooper and Brendan Johnston, Swell Specialized team mates Andy Blair and Shaun Lewis, along with Dan McConnell, keen to show his form locally after a stellar world championship season in which he placed 2nd overall in the World Cup Series.

The unstoppable Jenny Fay will be back again to defend her title.
The unstoppable Jenny Fay will be back again to defend her title.

Defending women’s champion Jenny Fay has just picked up the Irish National Marathon Jersey after a win in Italy too, but she will be back in Australia, and in top form, to ensure she makes it three in a row at The Fling. The likes of Australian XC champion Peta Mullens from VIC and Jo Bennet from WA will be keen to stop the hat trick.

Former Singlespeed World Champion Garth Weinberg from NZ, will be over to shake up the Full Fling SS category and no doubt will finish up toward the pointy end overall too.

In the 100 Mile Fling local elites including title holder Ed Macdonald will be battling it out with international riders including the UK’s Matt Page. 2012 Half Fling winner Kyle Ward is stepping up to the Full Fling in 2013. Can his 18 year old younger brother Jayden, recent victor in the Kowalski 50km event, hold onto the family honour by keeping out last year’s 2nd place rider Andrew Arthur, 50km specialist Brad Morton and evergreen old foxes like Matt Fleming?

The main racing takes place on Sunday 10th with riders selecting the 110km Full Fling, 55km Half Fling or 100Mile Fling, with routes winding through mixed terrain. Private farmland tracks cross into the beautiful forest and gully trails of Wingello State Forest. Open paddocks become rough 4WD trails and flowing single track. Challenging climbs are rewarded with sweet descents.

Leading into the main event are also a host of sideshow events across the weekend, including the Casual Fling to cater for those who prefer a more social ride and the Bundanoon Dash for those who like their racing fast and furious.

Briars Highland Fling 2012

The Battle of the Businesses, for locals only, provides stunning costumes for spectator entertainment, while those who like to race without having to put any power to the pedal can line-up for the second Rolloff World Championships.

For young racers, Saturday’s Kids Skills Clinic tips can be tried out in the hotly contested Todds Real Estate Kids Fling on Sunday.

 

Racing: The CamelBak Highland Fling Is Just a Stone’s Throw Away!

The 2013 CamelBak Highland Fling mountain bike event is just four weeks away. That’s still plenty of time to get your training on a roll and be ready to leave no stone unturned when you line up for the ninth edition of Australia’s largest mountain bike marathon.

Briars Highland Fling 2012

If you’ve noticed there seems to be a bit of a stone theme, you’re onto something. One of the many things that make the CamelBak Highland Fling unique is its annual theme; designed to ensure that serious racing is also serious fun!

2013 sees The CamelBak Highland Fling go stone-age with a Flingstones theme. And while there is an assurance that no actual stones will be flung (other than flung up by tyres), there could be a dinosaur or two taking to the trails (and we’re not talking about riders in the Grand Masters category).

Briars Highland Fling 2012

On Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th November, the picturesque New South Wales Southern Highlands town of Bundanoon will a celebrate all things mountain biking with the CamelBak Highland Fling welcoming a large field of both Australian and international elite riders, category racers and weekend warriors, together with their support crews, families and friends.

Last year's podium. Cooper, Jackson and Johnston grabbed the top three spots. Jackson took the novelty cheque, Coops got the beer, Brendan got the award for best attempt at a moustache.
Last year’s podium. Cooper, Jackson and Johnston grabbed the top three spots. Jackson took the novelty cheque, Coops got the beer, Brendan got the award for best attempt at a moustache.

2012 men’s champion Adrian Jackson will be back to defend his title saying: ‘The Fling is one of my big targets for the second half and I hope to hit it in top form. It’s rated in the top tier of marathon races by all elites. To win one is an honour but to win back-to-back, is legend making.’

Making sure it’s not an easy win will be a stacked men’s elite field including 2012 2nd and 3rd place-getters Dylan Cooper and Brendan Johnston, Swell Specialized team mates Andy Blair and Shaun Lewis, along with Dan McConnell, keen to show his form locally after a stellar world championship season in which he placed 2nd overall in the World Cup Series.

The unstoppable Jenny Fay will be back again to defend her title.
The unstoppable Jenny Fay will be back again to defend her title.

Defending women’s champion Jenny Fay has just picked up the Irish National Marathon Jersey after a win in Italy too, but she will be back in Australia, and in top form, to ensure she makes it three in a row at The Fling. The likes of Australian XC champion Peta Mullens from VIC and Jo Bennet from WA will be keen to stop the hat trick.

Former Singlespeed World Champion Garth Weinberg from NZ, will be over to shake up the Full Fling SS category and no doubt will finish up toward the pointy end overall too.

In the 100 Mile Fling local elites including title holder Ed Macdonald will be battling it out with international riders including the UK’s Matt Page. 2012 Half Fling winner Kyle Ward is stepping up to the Full Fling in 2013. Can his 18 year old younger brother Jayden, recent victor in the Kowalski 50km event, hold onto the family honour by keeping out last year’s 2nd place rider Andrew Arthur, 50km specialist Brad Morton and evergreen old foxes like Matt Fleming?

The main racing takes place on Sunday 10th with riders selecting the 110km Full Fling, 55km Half Fling or 100Mile Fling, with routes winding through mixed terrain. Private farmland tracks cross into the beautiful forest and gully trails of Wingello State Forest. Open paddocks become rough 4WD trails and flowing single track. Challenging climbs are rewarded with sweet descents.

Leading into the main event are also a host of sideshow events across the weekend, including the Casual Fling to cater for those who prefer a more social ride and the Bundanoon Dash for those who like their racing fast and furious.

Briars Highland Fling 2012

The Battle of the Businesses, for locals only, provides stunning costumes for spectator entertainment, while those who like to race without having to put any power to the pedal can line-up for the second Rolloff World Championships.

For young racers, Saturday’s Kids Skills Clinic tips can be tried out in the hotly contested Todds Real Estate Kids Fling on Sunday.

 

It’s almost Fling time!

There’s less than one month to go until The Flinging Scotsman departs Central Station in Sydney and delivers eco savvy mountain bikers to the 2012 Briars Highland Fling – Australia’s largest mountain bike marathon and the final race in the 2012 Real Insurance XCM Series, now in its eighth year!

The Fling is always ripper day in the NSW Southern Highlands. Just keep some fuel in the tank for those final climbs!

 

Every year, the Fling has a theme, and for 2012 it’s See Yourself. Expect lots of mirrors on course to give you a look at just how haggard you actually appear at the top of the climbs! Or perhaps you see yourself stomping your way to the win?

The Fling is all about sustainability too, so the Wild Horizons mob have organised ‘The Flinging Scotsman’,  a special charter train to take riders from Central Station to Bundanoon (and return). At $29 it’s cheaper than petrol, speeding tickets can be avoided and race strategies can be planned on route. Then of course there’s the benefit of sleeping all the way home to Sydney after racing hard.

The Flinging stars of tomorrow aren’t left out of the Fling either, so over the weekend there’s a kid’s skills clinic plus the Todds Real Estate Kid’s Fling where they can put it all into practice – 170 kids raced last year.

In addition tho the 110km Full Fling and 55km Half Fling, there’s also the 100Mile Fling – we expect these longer mega-endurance format formats of 150km plus are about to explode. There are other weekend highlight races to keep the legs turning too, with the fast and furious Bundanoon Dash, the 14km Casual Fling, and local legends will contest the Battle of the Businesses dressing up bike and rider.

It's almost Fling time!

There’s less than one month to go until The Flinging Scotsman departs Central Station in Sydney and delivers eco savvy mountain bikers to the 2012 Briars Highland Fling – Australia’s largest mountain bike marathon and the final race in the 2012 Real Insurance XCM Series, now in its eighth year!

The Fling is always ripper day in the NSW Southern Highlands. Just keep some fuel in the tank for those final climbs!

 

Every year, the Fling has a theme, and for 2012 it’s See Yourself. Expect lots of mirrors on course to give you a look at just how haggard you actually appear at the top of the climbs! Or perhaps you see yourself stomping your way to the win?

The Fling is all about sustainability too, so the Wild Horizons mob have organised ‘The Flinging Scotsman’,  a special charter train to take riders from Central Station to Bundanoon (and return). At $29 it’s cheaper than petrol, speeding tickets can be avoided and race strategies can be planned on route. Then of course there’s the benefit of sleeping all the way home to Sydney after racing hard.

The Flinging stars of tomorrow aren’t left out of the Fling either, so over the weekend there’s a kid’s skills clinic plus the Todds Real Estate Kid’s Fling where they can put it all into practice – 170 kids raced last year.

In addition tho the 110km Full Fling and 55km Half Fling, there’s also the 100Mile Fling – we expect these longer mega-endurance format formats of 150km plus are about to explode. There are other weekend highlight races to keep the legs turning too, with the fast and furious Bundanoon Dash, the 14km Casual Fling, and local legends will contest the Battle of the Businesses dressing up bike and rider.